Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea
described the loss of the whaler Essex
in the Pacific Ocean--the whale attack that inspired the climax of Melville's Moby Dick
and the horrors the crew suffered as they strove to return home. Philbrick's book sought to balance first-mate Owen Chase's classic version of the Essex
disaster against the narrative, discovered in 1981, of Thomas Nickerson, an Essex
cabin boy. This volume collects these and other primary sources: letters sent back to Nantucket when the first survivors reached South America; Chase's narrative and Melville's notes in his copy of it; Nickerson's sketches, written years later, and a Nickerson letter; interviews with the ship's captain; the story of one of the men who remained in the islands near the wreck; and "memories and apocrypha." These are not literary documents; they are sailors' stories of a terrifying experience, full of maritime detail. Appropriate where Philbrick's book or other studies of nineteenth-century men at sea circulate. Mary CarrollCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Thomas Philbrick is professor emeritus of English at the University of Pittsburgh.
Nathaniel Philbrick, is a leading authority on the history of Nantucket Island. His In the Heart of the Sea
won the National Book Award. His latest book is Sea of Glory
, about the epic U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838–1842. His other books include Away off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890
(which Russell Baker
called "indispensable") and Abram's Eyes: The Native American Legend of Nantucket Island
("a classic of historical truthtelling," according to Stuart Frank
, director of the Kendall Whaling Museum). He has written an introduction to a new edition of Joseph Hart
's Miriam Coffin, or The Whale Fisherman
, a Nantucket novel (first published in 1834) that Melville
relied upon for information about the island when writing Moby Dick
Philbrick, a champion sailboat racer, has also written extensively about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor (1987) and the forthcoming Second Wind: A Sunfish Sailor's Odyssey. He was editor in chief of the classic Yaahting: A Parody (1984).
In his role as director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies, Philbrick, who is also a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association, gives frequent talks about Nantucket and sailing. He has appeared on "NBC Today Weekend", A&E's "Biography" series, and National Public Radio and has served as a consultant for the movie "Moby Dick", shown on the USA Network. He received a bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Master of Arts in American Literature from Duke. He lives on Natucket with his wife and two children.